Wolf hunters urged to use restraint

Wolf hunters urged to use restraint. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star-Tribune

Some of the supporters of turning 87% of Wyoming into a free-fire zone for wolves seem to be having second thoughts.

And its just not true that there is no wolf habitat in Wyoming’s wolf-are-vermin-zone. The Daniel Pack has formed and reformed time after time. At one time it grow to almost 20 members. The same is true with the Green River Pack at the scenic north end of the Wind River Range. The Wyoming and Salt River Ranges are excellent wolf habitat. There are lots of elk and deer, and they provide a direct route south to Utah and Colorado. Moreover,  Elk live year round out on the Red Desert. Other than energy development, most of SW Wyoming is very sparsely populated. Look on Google Earth

In fact this migration corridor is probably one reason this part of Wyoming was put in the predator rather than the trophy game zone — to enforce the relatively new “Kempthorne doctrine” that the Department of Interior no longer lets endangered species reinhabit their traditional ranges.



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  1. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    I stated this in more detail on another thread (253 shooting story) but think it’s worth saying here again. The predator zone in WY is terrible, but there’s almost no protection left in Idaho for wolves anywhere in the state, either, because of “Idaho Code 36-1107. Wild animals and birds damaging property.”

    This code, passed through the Idaho legislature by a anti-wolf state representative from Challis, is now the law of the land in Idaho. Note the definition of “molesting”.

    Here are excerpts from the code: “Wolves may be disposed of by livestock or domestic animal owners, their employees, agents and animal damage control personnel when the same are molesting or attacking livestock or domestic animals and it shall not be necessary to obtain any permit from the department.”

    “For the purposes of this subsection (c), “molesting” shall mean the actions of a wolf that are annoying, disturbing or persecuting, especially with hostile intent or injurious effect, or chasing, driving, flushing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for, livestock or domestic animals.”

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    One positive side, I suppose, the actions of Rep. Lenore Barrett (Challis) might have made it likely that Idaho’s wolf management will now fail the scrutiny of a federal judge.

    Throughout all of this, those controlling Idaho’s efforts at delisting have been more cautious than Wyoming what they have publicly said regarding wolves, although there are quite a few exceptions such as the new governor’s Jan. 2007 outburst about getting to shoot the first wolf and reducing their numbers to 100. Since then, he has been careful what he says, and the Fish and Game Commission sounded almost sweet on wolves beginning a month before delisting.

    In 2002, however, The Idaho legislature, however, passed the official state position that all the wolves should be gone. It is still the official state position. Now this, led by Barrett, perhaps the most regressive and spiteful politician in the state, was sneaked through with no publicity or opposition.

  3. Chuck Avatar

    “For the purposes of this subsection (c), “molesting” shall mean the actions of a “wolf or rancher” that are annoying, disturbing or persecuting, especially with hostile intent or injurious effect, or chasing, driving, flushing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for, livestock or domestic animal.” So this statement alone would also include the ranchers, don’t the ranchers drive their cattle, worry their cattle??? I did not mean this to be a smarta** towards Lynne’s comment. This wolf killing has gotten outta hand and is only going to get worse. Something needs to be done to stop this.

  4. vicki Avatar

    Unfortunately there is still some time left before legally filing suit can take place.
    I am wondering if anyone has a count of dead wolves since the delisting occured?
    It seems that the number of wolves already slain will be testimony as to the huge mis-“management” of wolves. If allowed to continue killing in this manner at this pace, it won’t be a year before they are endangered once again.
    The sickest part of what is happening now is, even if they stop killing wolves a few short months from now, they will have permanently caused some packs to cease to exist. They may have caused many packs to lose their ability to maintain it’s stability and existence.
    It seems to me that may send more loners wondering around without a pack or range to call home. That may reduce numbers in itself, could it not? No pack, no alpha pair and no breeding…fewer pups fewer chances for future generations to endure.
    Using “restraint” is a joke. Do we really believe that those who are ignorant enough to shoot on sight have enough intellegence to RESTRAIN themselves? I don’t.
    The only shooters I trust to use restraint are hunters who would wait to be drawn for a wolf tag. I don’t think wolf numbers have reached that level yet. I think they will some day. But vermin they aren’t. So their hunt will need to be trophy level only.

  5. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Six wolves are so far confirmed killed, most in the vicinity of elk feedgrounds.

    The “predatory animal zone” concept predates by several years the Kempthorne Doctrine that ignores the ESA requirement for restoration of species to its historical range and probably had a role in creating that doctrine. For all the anti-wolfers, the idea is based upon the “fence in Yellowstone” approach to wildlife management, which basically is, don’t let these large megafauna interfere with “multiple use” outside the Park.

    A similar approach was considered in the environmental impact statement, but was rejected because such an approach wouldn’t allow for the working of a wolf metapopulation.

    I also believe, although I can’t prove it, that the idea of dual status itself may have been planted in the Wyoming legislature by the G&F hierarchy, which doesn’t want to deal with wolf management at all due to the expense and the politics of wolves. I believe the thinking was, “Given that wolves are here to stay, what is the least we can get away with to save ourselves a lot of trouble?” And that is pretty much what we’ve got right now.

    People in the know know that dual status violates the ESA, but as the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You can always find a judge who’ll listen to your argument, and a lot of damage can be done to wolves in the interim–as we’re seeing now.

    By the way, there’ll be no draw for wolf tags. Wyoming Statute sets the price of a wolf tag at $15, the price of a couple of sixpacks. My guess is that within the trophy game zone, there’ll be a quota system for wolves, as there is for lions and bears, and that while there will be no limit on the number of licenses sold, there will be a limit on the number of wolves killed, so that the number of packs in Wyoming will not dip below 15. The rule for lions and bears is, when that quota (a female quota) is reached, the hunt is over, no matter how many licenses have been sold.

    G&F has promised that draft wolf regs will be released to the public in late April or early May. That’ll be the first look we’ll get at how G&F plans to manage wolf hunting.


  6. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Bob Wharff, Executive Director for Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill of Wyoming, was quoted in the article as saying there has been no concerted effort by his organization or any of its chapters, as far as he knows, to go out and kill wolves.

    It makes sense, because of the potential for tremendous negative publicity, that SFW of Wyoming wouldn’t sponsor any massive wolf killing contests in the predator zone, complete with bounties, until delisting was upheld in court, if that’s the case.

    As a reminder, here’s the story on a coyote bounty hunt that SFW sponsored in Cody; 475 coyotes were killed; $9,500 was paid out:


    I think it would be great to send some of Bob Wharff’s comments on this blog to reporters and I would do so if I could easily find them. He’s commenting in public, so his comments are available to the world.

    BTW, I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve ever said on this blog.

  7. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I do not believe for a minute that SFW was not involved in organizing these wolf shoots. The negative publicity from killing wolves, which comes from us, the enemy, actually benefits SFW as it pushes for new members. That’s the mindset these guys have. It is the same mindset you have with Ron Gillett in Idaho.

    I was interviewed for this story, and I insisted that Chris Merrill call Wharff and get his comments about the wolf kill on record. Note that Wharff is described as saying, “as far as he knows,” there was is no concerted effort by SFW or any of its chapters to go out and kill wolves. Right. The Sublette County Chapter of SFW-Wyoming decided to bake cookies instead.

  8. YNP4me Avatar

    A few Bob Wharff related threads

    Predator hunters for the environment
    feature article – June 25, 2007 by Hal Herring
    Kevin Smith, a member of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife-Idaho, holds a cougar he shot in Owyhee County. COURTESY SPORTSMEN FOR FISH AND WILDLIFE-IDAHO
    Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife has protected a lot of Western land and species. It’s also killed a lot of coyotes (and can’t wait to go after some wolves).


    and this one
    a Bob Wharff related thread

  9. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Robert, I’m sure you’re right: SFW of WY probably wants to maintain a party position regarding any organized wolf hunts/kills, while turning a blind eye to any organizing done more or less privately.

    They can eat those cookies while putting together those wolf quilts and rugs.

  10. Virginia Avatar

    I hope everyone who reads this blog will go onto the Billings Gazette website today and vote your opinion concerning the question, “Do you like Wyoming’s idea of allowing unlimited shooting of wolves outside of the animal’s designated recovery zone?” So far, the percentages are about 76% approval to 24% disapproval! The site is: GazOutdoors.com.

  11. Overlander Avatar

    I see a rancher and outfitter urge “restraint,” and I figure that’s code for: “hey guys, quit reporting your wolf kills. It’s bad press. Shoot, shovel, shut up.”

  12. Ron C. Avatar
    Ron C.

    “I see a rancher and outfitter urge “restraint,” and I figure that’s code for: “hey guys, quit reporting your wolf kills. It’s bad press. Shoot, shovel, shut up.”

    That’s the way it should be for now. So far 11 wolves have been killed and 4 of them were attacking cattle and WS would have killed them anyways.
    So 7 Wolves total so far have been killed in the shoot on sight predator zone.

    Boy they sure are wiping them out.

  13. YNP4me Avatar

    Go slowly on first wolf hunting season

    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    Casper Star-Tribune Editorial Board

    Wyoming needs to determine carefully how many wolves it will allow to be killed in the new trophy game area in the northwest corner of the state.

    Most of the attention during the first two weeks of state management of Wyoming’s wolf population has focused on the number of kills outside the trophy game zone. Thirteen wolves have been killed under the state’s new policy of allowing the animals outside the zone to be shot on sight.

    That sounds like a lot of wolves, and the killings have prompted some outrage and scattered threats of a tourist boycott. But the number is misleading.

    To analyze the real impact the new state program will have on wolves in Wyoming, it’s important to look at what’s happened since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced a handful of wolves to the Yellowstone area in 1995.

    Under the federal protection of the Endangered Special Act, wolves have thrived to the point that they plainly merited delisting on March 28. More than 1,500 gray wolves now live in the Northern Rockies, including an estimated 346 in Wyoming after the latest kills. Even with federal wildlife managers eliminating “problem” wolves that have been known to kill livestock, the wolf population has been growing by about 24 percent a year.

    Only about 20 wolves in Wyoming are known to live outside the trophy game area. Even if every one of those animals is killed during the year, the death total will stop at about 33. That’s almost equal to the number federal wolf managers killed outside the zone in 2007.



Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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